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Organization Management JournalPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/uomj20
The Constructivist Approach to LearningSteven Meisel aa Management and Leadership Department, School of Business , La Salle University ,Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , USAPublished online: 20 Dec 2012.
To cite this article: Steven Meisel (2012) The Constructivist Approach to Learning, Organization Management Journal, 9:4,247-248, DOI: 10.1080/15416518.2012.738530
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15416518.2012.738530
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Organization Management Journal, 9: 247248, 2012Copyright Eastern Academy of ManagementISSN: 1541-6518 onlineDOI: 10.1080/15416518.2012.738530
TEACHING & LEARNING
The Constructivist Approach to Learning
Co-Editor1Management and Leadership Department, School of Business, La Salle University, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, USA
The Teaching & Learning section of the OrganizationManagement Journal has been open to many approaches toclassroom innovation. The common thread has always been tofind interesting ideas that might provoke new ideas and newtechniques that interest our students. The two articles presentedin this issue do that in interesting and unusual ways. The firstof these articles is Using the Three Stooges to Illustrate theScientific Method, by Steven M. Dunphy and Joe Dobson.Regarding the use of the Three Stooges as a bridge to thescientific method, you are probably thinking, Well sure, whodoesnt do that? But dont be hasty in your judgment. Dunphyand Dobson have a thoroughly engaging article on teaching asubject that is famously cut-and-dried in its presentation. Thesecond article is You Want Me to Trust You? Using AdventureLearning to Teach Millennials About Trust, by Kathleen J.Barnes, George E. Smith, and Madeline Constantine. A quotefrom the authors of our second article actually helps to framethe use of the Stooges as a teaching tool for todays stu-dents: Foremost among [our] challenges is finding teachingapproaches and methods that hold the potential to compel thiscohort to question their existing models and beliefs about whatthey already believe to be real, unchangeable, and immovablein their lives and life experience (p. 255). The need to questionmodels and beliefs is exactly what will make both these articlesinteresting to OMJ readers. In explaining student engaged edu-cation, the website of the University of California (UC)DavisCenter for Experiential Learning has this to say about the topic:
If your goal is to have the person understand the concept at alevel that they can generalize and apply the understanding to new sit-uations, or combine the understanding with other concepts they havelearned, experiential education is probably the best way to developthat level of mastery. (UCDavis, 2012)
Address correspondence to Steven Meisel, Management andLeadership Department, School of Business, La Salle University,College Hall 413, 1900 W. Olney Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19141, USA.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can approach this goal in a traditional classroom settingby doing something unexpected, such as using a classic com-edy to illustrate social science experimentation and the scientificmethod. Dunphy, Dobson, Larry, Curly, and Moe offer a way ofintroducing research methods and the critical examination ofresearch findings to students who are often are better at findingdata than assessing the credibility of the data they have found.
Barnes, Smith, and Constantine use adventure learning as away to work toward the same goal of increased understandingbut with a very different approach. In so doing, they create thepossibility for learning practical knowledge about a subject evenless understood than the scientific method. The concept of trustin organizational behavior is subject to personal interpretationand at the whim of personal experience of each student. As theauthors point out, members of the cohort known as the millen-nial generation have a desire to be actively involved in theirown learning and . . . to receive immediate feedback regard-ing the practical implications of their course material (p. 255).This is in keeping with previous research that finds that gener-ation to be empowered and free from hierarchy, jealous aboutpersonal time, keen on relationships and trust, inquisitive aboutvalues and ethics, with the power of the web to change theirperceptions of time and distance and organizations and govern-ment (J. P. Rangaswami, February 28, 2006, in Park, 2006).It may be that traditional-age college students want to trust, butunderstanding how trust is engendered in the workplace is acontinuing challenge for their instructors that may be aided bythe design of this adaptation of adventure learning.
In both cases, these articles look for ways to reach studentsin unusual ways and create integrative thinking from experi-ence. The experiential education experts tell us that this model isconstructivist. That is, learning and understanding come froma process of inquiry and reflection. However, it seems that alldeep learning is the same and that inquiry and reflection can bedesigned for all topics if the intention is there to do so. Bothof the articles in this Teaching & Learning section are in thatmode and have thought-provoking ideas for all of us who aspireto transformational learning in our teaching.
248 S. MEISEL
REFERENCESParks, S. (2006, February 28). An excellent definition of the digital generation
[Web log message]. The Park paradigm: Markets for the digital generation.Retrieved from http://www.parkparadigm.com/?m=200602
University of CaliforniaDavis Center for Experiential Learning. (2012).Experiential learning home page. University of CaliforniaDavis Center
for Experiential Learning, University of California Science, Technologyand Environmental Literacy (STEL) Workgroups Experiential LearningProject Group (ELPG). September 1. Retrieved from http://www.experientiallearning.ucdavis.edu/why-el.shtml